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The kitchen glow up

From 90’s design nightmare to a fresh and modern biophilic family kitchen.

Before
1990’s kitchen makeover into bright modern blue kitchen with trellis plants
After

A greasy start

The listing pictures of my 1914 bungalow did not reveal how grimy this kitchen was (do they ever?!). However, more troubling than the grease, was the truly heinous mismatched 90’s elements. Brownish-green linoleum counters with deep red walls, yellowed appliances, and even a wall paper border (remember those?) Here’s the story of how I transformed this design nightmare into a dream kitchen!

1990’s kitchen makeover into bright modern blue kitchen with trellis plants

Minimal changes for maximum impact

how to prioritize projects on a budget

Like most first time home owners, I was big on ideas and short on cash. I kept the layout of the kitchen, the cabinets, and opted for budget-friendly DIY fixes for the rest. Here are the three changes that made the biggest impact!

Oldest son helping paint over old wallpaper border for modern blue kitchen makeover
My oldest helped paint over the old border with a bright navy blue. The heavily textured red walls got about a million coats of white maintenance paint as well.
Using countertop paint for dream kitchen makeover on a budget

1. Paint, paint, and more paint

So fresh and clean

Nearly everything was painted, even the countertops! Aside from the smell, this Rust-oleum paint worked great as a base coat for the countertops. A clear resin epoxy with faux marbling was added after the paint dried. The marbling really elevates the space. And resin is so easy to care for, you can even put hot things on it! Plus not replacing the countertops saves $$$.

2. Tile is worth the investment

Cement tile is beautiful and affordable!

1990’s kitchen makeover into bright modern blue kitchen with trellis plants
The exhaust fan was a spurge at $150 but it really completes the high-end look.
1990’s kitchen gets modern bright update on a budget

The cabinet and microwave above the stove were relocated and replaced with decorative cement tile. I think this had the biggest impact on the space in terms of giving a high-end feel in a modest space. And waste not want not…the cabinet was used to make a micro mud room for the back door!

Morkie puppy in bright blue and white modern kitchen with trellis and decorative tile

Violet the morkie puppy!

3. Appliances: cover what you can’t replace

The don’t make ‘em like they used to

The dishwasher and stove were replaced. While I can’t pretend that was low budget, it was necessary, and decreased the decor budget accordingly 😜. A new refrigerator was absolutely not possible. Luckily the fridge cleaned up (thanks mom)! These 1980’s refrigerators will probably outlive us all!

Old refrigerator makeover diy with gold handles camouflages fridge
Fun fact: the blue that dominates the kitchen is opps paint! I love to look in the mistint section for less expensive paint. Sometimes there are really nice colors (see above) and much higher quality paint than I could normally afford. I have been known to design entire rooms based around opps paint!
1990’s kitchen makeover into bright modern blue kitchen with trellis plants

I love the functionality of this fridge but the look was not giving the right vibes to say the least. Especially after painting the room white, it was looking practically canary yellow. I decided to cover it with beadboard painted in the same blue as the kitchen. Molding inspired by the original details in home was added along with oversized gold handles. It’s one of my favorite parts of the kitchen!

Who doesn’t love a good before and after?

Shop the look

Handmade Circle Trellis Shelf with Planter

Handmade Circle Trellis Shelf with Planter

from $99.00

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Hand drawn blue fern print in white and blue kitchen with plants

Hand Drawn Blue Fern Canvas Print

from $24.00

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Minimal Upcycled Hanging Planter with Hook

Minimal Upcycled Hanging Planter with Hook

from $28.00

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The endless circle bamboo trellis

Adds that je ne sais quoi

Follow along on Social Media for all the curved leaf bungalow updates!

Preparing to paint textured walls and wallpaper borders
Preparing to paint textured walls and wallpaper borders
Preparing to install decorative cement tile in dream kitchen makeover
Preparing to install decorative cement tile in dream kitchen makeover
Decorative cement tile backsplash
Decorative cement tile backsplash
Using countertop paint as a base coat
Using countertop paint as a base coat
Minimal bonsai succulent bowl planter bonsai planter black and white decor fern painting unique hand painted planters local pickup small business bowl planter
Minimal bonsai succulent bowl planter bonsai planter black and white decor fern painting unique hand painted planters local pickup small business bowl planter
After one coat of white paint in the kitchen design project
After one coat of white paint in the kitchen design project
Diy fridge makeover for dream kitchen makeover on a budget
Diy fridge makeover for dream kitchen makeover on a budget
Hanging pendant light planter combination with decorative dimmable bulbs over kitchen lighting bohemian  natural decor
Hanging pendant light planter combination with decorative dimmable bulbs over kitchen lighting bohemian  natural decor
Blue tropical leaf drawing monstera and fern botanical print for cottage core traditional designed kitchen
Blue tropical leaf drawing monstera and fern botanical print for cottage core traditional designed kitchen